Integrated externally and internally generated task predictions jointly guide cognitive control in prefrontal cortex.
Cognitive control proactively configures information processing to suit expected task demands. Predictions of forthcoming demand can be driven by explicit external cues or be generated internally, based on past experience (cognitive history). However, it is not known whether and how the brain reconciles these two sources of information to guide control. Pairing a probabilistic task-switching paradigm with computational modeling, we found that external and internally generated predictions jointly guide task preparation, with a bias for internal predictions. Using model-based neuroimaging, we then show that the two sources of task prediction are integrated in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and jointly inform a representation of the likelihood of a change in task demand, encoded in frontoparietal cortex. Upon task-stimulus onset, dorsomedial prefrontal cortex encoded the need for reactive task-set adjustment. These data reveal how the human brain integrates external cues and cognitive history to prepare for an upcoming task.
Jiang, J; Wagner, AD; Egner, T
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